Palau to open wider
As of the latest directive from the Palau Ministry of Health “effective immediately,” travelers to Palau will only need to provide proof of full vaccination at least 14 days prior to departure to enter the country, according to the June 17 directive.
From July, United Airlines will fly a Boeing 737 each Sunday on the Guam-Palau route.
Flight UA 157 will leave Guam at 10.20 p.m. and arrive in Koror at 23.25 p.m., local time. Flight UA 158 will depart Koror at 1 a.m. and arrive Guam at 4.05 a.m.
Passengers will need to obtain advance approval to enter Palau. They must:
- Complete a quarantine certificate application form and email to [email protected]
- Once reviewed, the customer will receive an email that will have an application number. They must retain a copy of this email.
- Travelers are required to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, taken within 72 hours of scheduled departure date from the originating city. Negative test results must be sent by email to [email protected] no later than 6 p.m. Guam time on the date of flight departure from Guam to Palau.
- Once the test result is verified and matched with the quarantine application the customer will receive a quarantine certificate by email.
- The quarantine certificate and test result, in either paper or electronic format, will be verified by United agents prior to boarding the flight to Palau.
Information can be found at www.palaugov.pw/travel.
Visitors to Palau will still be on restricted movement for seven days, and according to the directive will need to take a test on Day 5 of their stay.
Paula Monk, senior manager for sales for Micronesia for United Airlines confirmed the airline’s understanding of arrangements and told the Journal, “Our airport team will verify travel documents for travelers bound for Palau.”
As of May 28, about 96% of Palau’s adult population had been vaccinated against COVID-19, representing 71% of the total population, the Ministry of Health said.
June 23 and June 24 were days spent in discussing Guam’s plans for reopening.
The Guam Visitors Bureau Recovery Task Force discussed on June 23 the introduction of digital declarations through a QR code for arriving passengers at the A.B. won Pat International Airport, Guam. Nico Fujikawa, director of tourism research at GVB said, “The system is about 90% done and then we can start testing.”
Task force members also discussed the length of time it is taking arrivals to pass through Department of Health and Social Services scrutiny at airport.
Samuel V. Shinohara, managing director of United Airlines and chairman of the task force said the time it takes to process passengers “can exceed over two hours.”
Artemio “Ricky” Hernandez, deputy executive director at the airport, said processing had improved. “It’s been a lot smoother. We’ve made the baggage claim area a lot better.” The airport is using the baggage claim area for DPHSS screening.
If the QR code is used there would be a line for those that have downloaded it.
Task force members discussed the possibility of increasing the DPHSS team numbers to receive passengers – particularly as visitor arrivals are increasing, whether tables could be made available for DPHSS, and how that would impact baggage carousels.
Hernandez was tasked with discussing the issues with DPHSS, which did not have a representative at the meeting.
Fujikowa also presented potential industry incentives for discussion, which could include incentives directly to travel agents and airlines, to local businesses, for hotel rooms and for “Hafa Dollars,” for visitors to spend.
The estimated budget for incentives would be $1.6 million from the fiscal 2021 budget.
The Guam Economic Forum on June 24 offered potentially good news for the business community.
Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero told attendees, “My Physicians Advisory Group has recommended that when we achieve 75% of vaccinated adults, that we should lift additional travel restrictions.” She said, “I will bring this to my team for further discussion.”
As of June 24, she said, “ … we have nearly 91,000 fully immunized persons on Guam. Of that, over 86,000 are 18 and over. That means nearly 72% of our adult population has the full protection of the vaccine, bringing us closer to liberating Guam from the clutches of this deadly virus.” Guam could reach 75% immunity by July 1.
The governor gave business representatives reason to hope. “My vision for Guam – after July 21 – is to get back to normal as [much as] possible. While I will still encourage residents to wear their face masks, especially in crowds, I intend to restore occupancy limits to 100% and lift the cap on social gatherings,” she said.
The format gave panelists questions submitted prior to the event, from virtual attendees and from those the room.
The forum – which drew more than 130 business, government and University of Guam leaders in-person, as well as virtual attendees, was sponsored by a record number of civic organizations – the Guam Chamber of Commerce, the Guam Women’s Chamber of Commerce, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the Korean Chamber of Commerce and the Guam Contractors Association, the Korea-Guam Travel Association and the Japan Guam-Travel Association. The event was also sponsored by Guam Ecosystems Collaboratorium for Corals and Oceans or Guam EPSCOR and the University of Guam. mbj